“In light of the national opioid abuse epidemic, these new results underscore the importance of developing effective, multimodal approaches to managing common painful medical conditions.”
~ Mark Olfson, Dr. MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center
For the first time, a study has made a direct link between pain and the risk of opioid addiction. According to researchers at Columbia University, people suffering moderate to severe pain are at 41% greater risk to develop a prescription opioid use disorder than people who are pain-free.
In addition, people in pain are more likely to report:
- A family history of alcohol abuse
- A personal history of recent drug or alcohol use
- Anxiety or mood disorders
Different demographics also showed different propensities. For example, younger adults and males were at greater risk of abusing prescription opioids, while older adults and females were more likely to report experiencing pain.
The study analyzed data from over 34,000 adult patients. Results were published in a 2016 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
What Does All This Mean?
These findings showcase another under-utilized tool in the fight against drug abuse. As Dr. Olfson says,” In evaluating patients who present with pain, physicians should also be attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex and personal or family history of drug abuse. If opioids are prescribed, it is important for clinicians to monitor their patients carefully for warning signs of opioid addiction.”
But this need for increased awareness also extends to patients and their families. In other words, if you or someone you care about is in pain because of a condition or illness, this study highlights the need for greater caution concerning opioid use.
Even more importantly, if there is a personal or family history of substance abuse, the patient should discuss alternatives to opioids with their doctors.
If the misuse of prescription opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin, or fentanyl has become a problem in your life, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego today.
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